Tamil Nadu CM MK Stalin has constituted a one-man committee to probe the incident which led to the deaths of 11 people including two kids in the early hours of April 27.

Burnt temple car: Eyewitness recounts deaths in Thanjavur
news Accident Thursday, April 28, 2022 - 12:00

An eyewitness account of the tragedy at Kalimedu near Thanjavur, where 11 people were killed during a temple chariot procession, reveals how people dropped to the ground in seconds, after they were electrocuted. Recounting the events before and after the tragedy, Vasantha, an eyewitness said that she saw people dropping on the road in seconds. “I had finished doing my pooja for the swami and the next person was doing the pooja. That is when the temple car was being reversed to take a turn. When I turned around, the car had come in contact with the live wire and was burning. Suddenly, several people who were on the road and who were in the temple car got electrocuted and were lying in the water (the road was wet with water that was poured over the idol) in a matter of seconds. I started screaming, asking somebody to switch off the current. When the current was switched off, everybody was still lying motionless on the road,” she said.

TN Electricity Board Minister V Senthil Balaji said the temple car came in contact with 33KV wire, resulting in the deaths of the people. Speaking in the Assembly hours after the incident, the Minister said that the weight of a generator fixed on one side of the temple car was pulling it down, causing it to lose balance and tip over. “The car was taking its last lap and heading back to the temple. This is when it tipped over, after losing balance and came in contact with a 33 KV electricity overhead cable. The power supply was immediately stopped in the high tension wire and the wire was also located to a safe height,” he told the state assembly. 

He added that even after the power was stopped from the wire, the generator in the temple car was running and that the locals had used water to douse the flames. “It is suspected that the power going to the temple car serial lights via the generator could have also caused electrocution. If the top portion of the temple car had been protected with a folded roof, the tragedy could have been stopped and lives saved,” he told the assembly. 

Chief Minister MK Stalin has constituted a one man committee consisting of IAS officer Kumar Jayant, joint secretary to the Government of Tamil Nadu, to investigate the incident. 

He has also announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs 5 lakh to the families of the 11 victims, which include three children, Rs 1 lakh compensation for severely injured persons and Rs 50,000 for injured persons. 

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